Kidding is a comedy-drama series that premiered on Showtime on September 9, 2018. Followed by a sophomore season that premiered on February 9, 2020, the show sees Jim Carrey return to the small screens in a lead role capacity after more than two decades.
Carrey plays a Mr. Rogers-like character whose life is turned upside-down following the death of one of his twin sons.
Here is what you should know about Kidding on Showtime:
The series follows the life of TV presenter Jeff Piccirillo. As the beloved on-screen children's show host, Mr. Pickles, Piccirillo is the bastion of virtue for children and adults alike.
His standing as an infallible and upstanding human being is compromised when he faces a personal tragedy in the death of one of his twin sons. Jeff fights to maintain his sanity and stop his fairy-tale life from being uprooted in light of the unspeakable tragedy.
But no amount of wealth, fairy-tale ideation, or optimism can shield you when faced with the brevity of life and impending death.
Jim Carrey returns to the small screen as a series regular for the first time in nearly two decades as Jeff Piccirillo. He plays the Mr. Rogers-esque children's TV presenter, Mr. Pickles, in his show, Mr. Pickles' Puppet Time.
His fairy-tale-like life comes crashing down when he is forced to come to terms with mortality in light of his son's death. Jeff struggles - sometimes hilariously, sometimes heartbreakingly - to maintain his sanity and keep his family together.
Frank Langella plays Sebastian Piccirillo, father of Jeff Piccirillo, and the executive producer of Jeff's show, Mr. Pickles' Puppet Time.
Judy Greer plays Jill Piccirillo, the ex-wife of Jeff Piccirillo.
Cole Allen plays both the identical twin sons of Jeff Piccirillo, William "Will" Piccirillo and Philip "Phil" Piccirillo. Phil dies in a car accident early on in the series and sets the events of the show in motion.
Catherine Keener plays Deirdre "Didi" Perera-Jeff's sister who works as the head puppet maker of Mr. Pickles' Puppet Time.
Kidding has largely been met with positive reviews from fans and critics. On IMDb, the series holds an overall rating of 8.0/10 based on reviews from the site's 12,000+ users.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an overall approval rate of 88% for its two seasons. The first season has an approval rate of 77% based on reviews by 77 critics. The second season, as of March 2020, holds a 100% approval rate based on 8 critic reviews.
On Metacritic, the series holds a score of 68 out of 100 based on 35 critic reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Among the critics who reviewed the show positively was Karen Han, of Vox fame, who called the show "wonderful, terrifying, and heartbreaking at the same time."
She praised, among other things, Jim Carrey's impeccable performance as Jeff Piccirillo:
"If there’s some kind of magic formula to this oeuvre — Jim Carrey plus whimsy plus vulnerability equals emotional dynamite — then the new Showtime series Kidding has perfected it. The show, created by Dave Holstein with the bulk of the episodes directed by Gondry (as well as Carrey’s first significant role on TV since 1990’s In Living Color), is heartbreaking, and a rare marvel."
Alan Sepinwall, writing for Rolling Stone magazine had mixed feelings on the show; he praised Jim Carrey but criticized the overall theme and the direction in the show.
"Carrey is wonderful, making Jeff feel like a fully-realized person, even as Holstein and the other writers can’t always decide where the naive children’s show host ends and the man playing him begins."
He concluded his review saying that the show is worthwhile for Carrey's performance alone:
"Carrey’s worth the price of admission, though, even if it’s not the TV comeback vehicle many of his fans would want. Heck, he’d probably be a huge hit just hosting a full-length version of the show within the show, rather than this version that only gives us innocent glimpses amidst all the mourning. But like Jeff Pickles, Carrey wants to lean into the harder parts of life. More often than not with Kidding, he succeeds."
The show is definitely worth your time and we highly recommend you to watch it.